Home FBI Records/FOIA Requesting FBI Records

Requesting FBI Records

Requesting FBI Records

FBI records can be requested through both the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act. Please read this page carefully to ensure you are making the correct request.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request

The Freedom of Information Act allows any person—except fugitives, federal agencies, and foreign intelligence agencies—to request information about organizations, businesses, investigations, historical events, incidents, groups, or deceased persons.

To submit a Freedom of Information Act request, use one of the following options:

Option 1: Submit your request using the Sample FOIA Request Letter. The form includes instructions.

Note: you cannot use the eFOIA Form to submit a Privacy Act Request about yourself or another living person. Please use the U.S. Department of Justice Certification of Identity Form DOJ-361.

Option 2: Mail, fax, or e-mail your submission to:

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Attn: FOI/PA Request
Record/Information Dissemination Section
170 Marcel Drive
Winchester, VA 22602-4843
Fax: (540) 868-4391/4997
E-mail: foiparequest@ic.fbi.gov

Letter and e-mail format:

  • Provide your complete name and mailing address. Telephone, fax, and e-mail addresses are optional.
  • Provide any identifying data that will help us locate information—for example, the subject’s complete name, aliases, date and place of birth, social security number, former addresses, or localities.
  • If you are interested in records pertaining to a particular incident, please describe it in detail.

Another living person:

  • If your request is for information about another living person, that information is usually not disclosed unless you have obtained the person’s written consent or unless public disclosure is authorized by law. Requests for information about another living person should be accompanied by evidence of the subject’s consent. Please use U.S. Department of Justice Certification of Identity Form DOJ-361 and complete the section identified as: Authorization to Release Information to Another Person. You may submit an attachment listing additional information that may aid in locating responsive records. Please place your name and contact information on the attachment.

A deceased individual:

  • If your request is for information concerning a deceased individual, you must provide proof of death. Acceptable forms of proof of death include: obituaries, death certificates, recognized sources that can be documented, written media, Who’s Who in America, an FBI file that indicates a person is deceased, date of birth is 100 years or greater, or Social Security Death Index page.

State how much you are willing to pay for duplication fees if any are assessed. Refer to the U.S. Department of Justice FOIA Reference Guide.

For more information:

Privacy Act Request

The Privacy Act allows U.S. citizens and lawfully admitted aliens to request information on themselves or another living person.

If you are requesting information about yourself, you must use one of the following options:

Option 1: Use the U.S. Department of Justice Certification of Identity Form DOJ-361. You may submit an attachment listing additional information that may aid in locating responsive records. Please place your name and contact information on the attachment.

Option 2: Following the instructions in U.S. Department of Justice Certification of Identity Form DOJ-361, submit a letter to the FBI, sign your request, and have it notarized or state, “Under penalty of perjury, I hereby declare that I am the person named above and I understand that any falsification of this statement is punishable under the provisions of Title 18, United States Code (U.S.C.), Section 1001 by a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment of not more than five years, or both; and that requesting or obtaining any record(s) under false pretenses is punishable under the provisions of Title 5, U. S. C., Section 552a(i)(3) as a misdemeanor and by a fine of not more than $5,000.”  

Mail, fax, or e-mail this letter to the following:

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Attn: FOI/PA Request
Record/Information Dissemination Section
170 Marcel Drive
Winchester, VA 22602-4843
Fax: (540) 868-4391/4997
E-mail (scanned copy): foiparequest@ic.fbi.gov

For more information:

Identity History Summary Check

If you are requesting a copy, want to challenge, or are just checking on the status of a request regarding an Identity History Summary Check, please contact the FBI’s Criminal Justice Services Division (CJIS), Clarksburg, West Virginia at 304-625-5590 or 2000. 

(Note: Please do not submit a Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Request to the FBI’s Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS) if you are requesting an Identity History Summary Check. Access the CJIS link below and follow the instructions to request an Identity History Summary Check.)

An Identity History Summary Check—often referred to as a criminal history record, a police background clearance, police/good conduct certificate, or a “rap sheet”—is a listing of certain information taken from fingerprint submissions retained by the FBI in connection with arrests and, in some instances, federal employment, naturalization, or military service. It can also be used to satisfy a requirement to live, work, or travel in a foreign country, for employment or licensing within the U.S., or adopting a child in the U.S. or internationally. It may relate to a denial of a firearms purchase. The process of responding to an Identity History Summary Check is generally known as a criminal background check. 

Requesters may access the application instructions and necessary forms at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/identity-history-summary-checks.  When writing to CJIS please use the following address:

FBI CJIS Division – Summary Request
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, WV 26306

What Happens Next

To learn what information you will receive, how long it takes, and how to file an appeal, see What Happens After Making a Request.

Cross References

To make a request for cross-references—defined as a mention of a subject in the main file of another person, place, or event—you need to provide information in your request that is sufficient to enable the FBI to ensure with certainty that the cross-references are identifiable to the subject of your request. This information may include the following:

  • The specific circumstances in which the subject of your request had contact with the FBI;
  • The date(s) of such contact;
  • The location(s) of such contact;
  • The full name (first, middle, and last name) as well as any prior names or aliases used by the subject of your request;
  • Social Security number, date of birth, place of birth, and home address of the subject of your request;
  • Names of associates of the subject of your request the mention of whom might aid in the identification of responsive records; and
  • Other references of the subject of your request in media, such as books, articles, websites, etc.

Please note that the FBI may not be able to identify responsive cross-references despite the additional information you provide.

For more information:

If you have any questions about preparing or submitting FOIA or Privacy Act requests, call our FOIA Requestor Service Center at (540) 868-1535 to hear helpful recorded information. For information on expedited processing and fee waivers, see the U.S. Department of Justice FOIA Reference Guide.

Also see the following websites: